Vol. VIII, Issue 12
Nollaig Shona Daoibh agus Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh
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"IF WE'RE GOING TO PANIC, LET'S GET ORGANIZED ABOUT IT!"
A Message from our President James J. Lamb
Yes, one of those great Irish quips
stored in my memory, uttered by Tomas Mac Eochagáin many years ago at a
football training session.
I couldn’t help but recall that
line while reading about the recent turmoil that is the Irish economy, and the
general state of affairs on the island of Ireland. Much has been written
and reported through the Irish and international media about Ireland’s rapid
descent. And from all that I can gather, it can be explained with a few
For most of the 20th
century, the island of Ireland was a relatively poor place that rightly
believed education was the key to prosperity for future generations.
Schools and universities produced exceptionally talented young people but
could not keep them for lack of industry. Every year thousands of smart
young people left Ireland to find work and establish families in other places
around the world.
In 1973 both Ireland and the UK
joined what was known as the European Economic Community (EEC) – now the
European Union (EU). Ireland, being a poor country, benefitted greatly
from membership in the EU. Funding for infrastructure, better access to
other EU member markets, and other benefits brought some economic activity and
growth to the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland. It was
around that time that the Irish government introduced a corporation tax rate
of ten percent (10%). Of course throughout the 70s and 80s the war in
the North garnered most of the international headlines, and the United
Kingdom, Ireland’s largest trade partner was in a serious recession. But
gradually and quietly, Ireland was on the rise.
With a talented pool of workers and
a low corporate tax, the Irish attracted inward investment from all over the
world, especially from the US. By the mid 1990s, foreign companies were
realizing terrific profits while Irish workers brought their families out of
poverty. Some of the world’s greatest companies, like Microsoft,
Intel, Dell Computers, and others saw the Irish as a talented, tech-savvy
race, able to react and respond rapidly to changes in their respective
markets. Some of Ireland’s most talented young people started spinning
out companies of their own from these huge corporations and from the various
universities for which Ireland was always renowned. Meanwhile, on the
continent, German and other financial institutions saw this rising,
fundamentally sound economy at the edge of Europe. A young, smart,
confident pool of new Irish customers, they thought, would turn sleepy savings
accounts of frugal retirees into robust growth opportunities for banks across
Europe. As far as I can tell, that’s when the frenzy started.
Almost overnight, Ireland was
transformed. Banks made loans to anyone that wanted one.
Developers borrowed, bought, built and sold, earning huge profits. From
2003 to 2006 there was virtually zero (0) unemployment. Developers need
construction tradesmen. Banks needed administrative and financial
people. Hotels and restaurants were lucky to find workers from Poland
and other Eastern European states. Inflation went out of control.
Real estate prices rose exponentially. Government regulators and elected
politicians turned a blind eye and, along with the banks, pretended that
everything was just fine.
Well, it WASN’T fine. The
knowledge-based economy that emerged during the late nineties was replaced by
a greed-driven false economy shortly after the turn of the century.
Steady economic growth was exploited by slick salesmen who encouraged a rising
nation to demand more than they could afford.
By the time the European Central
Bank and the EU member countries realized what was going on, it was too late.
The economy had tanked. The Irish government, in spite of its promises,
could not save the banks that made so many bad loans. There was,
according to most observers, no other option but to take a bail out from the
EU and the International Monetary Fund.
So here we are, Christmas, 2010.
The government has slashed payrolls and public services. The cost of
borrowing from Irish banks now is higher than anywhere in Europe.
Unemployment is nearly fourteen percent (14%). The panic is on.
The people of Ireland feel betrayed. Their government let them down
terribly. And the government knows that. There will be protests,
pointing of fingers, and blame coming from all corners of Irish society.
Things could get ugly.
That said, I have a lot of
confidence in Ireland’s capacity to rise again. Ireland still produces
quality graduates at both secondary and third level. And in spite of
pressure from the EU, the government is holding its ground on retaining a low
corporate tax rate. I expect there will be a serious cleansing at
Leinster House in the next few months. Whoever takes control of
government then must get organized quickly. A marketing campaign
reminiscent of the 1980s bringing millions (or is it billions) in inward
investment to Ireland is in order. Ireland should sell those assets that
smart investors can’t resist: talent and low taxes. Make it impossible
for foreign investors to consider anywhere else.
And as Ireland re-emerges as a fundamentally sound, progressive, smart economy, let’s make sure that the slick salesmen don’t fool us a second time.
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service to peace
Irish Castle Vacation Prize Raffle
The Ireland Institute held its Irish Castle Vacation Prize Drawing on Monday, December 13, 2010 at the Harp and Fiddle.
Congratulations to the winner, Deb Powell!!!
The event was very well attended with Hooley and Guaranteed Irish providing the musical entertainment ably supported by Marie Young (telling the story of Christmas through both English and Irish). We'd like to thank everyone that made it down to the Harp & Fiddle for your support despite of the snow and a special thanks to everyone that helped us make the evening a success.
EUROZONE AGREES €85 BILLION DEAL FOR IRELAND
TRADE unions last night called for more protests and national strike action after more than 50,000 people marched through the streets of Dublin to voice their anger over the Government's austerity plans.
SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS HAS ENDED HIS STORMONT CAREER BY PRAISING THE 'REMARKABLE ACHIEVEMENT OF POWER SHARING
LABOUR'S BURTON SAYS IREALND IS 'BANJAXED'
Speaking on RTÉ's Six One News, Ms Burton said Ireland was 'banjaxed'.
THOUSANDS MARCH AGAINST AUSTERIY MEASURES
A crowd of up to 50,000 people have marched in protest against the introduction of spending cuts and tax increases by the Government.
RELIGION IN SCHOOLS 'A
BREACH OF CHILDREN'S HUMAN RIGHTS'
THE central role of religion in the overwhelming majority of Irish schools may be a breach of the human rights of some children.
'THE GREATEST LITTLE PUB IN THE WORLD' -- AND ITS MY LOCAL!
It may have evaded our collective attention as our sovereignty teetered on the brink of destruction, but The Harbour Bar in Bray -- my own local since I was, um, 18 -- has just been named the World's Best Pub by the international travel bible itself, Lonely Planet.
IRELAND STILL SEEN AS
TV presenter and archaeologist Neil Oliver has said there is still a perception that Ireland is an expensive country to visit which may be a legacy of the Celtic Tiger.
TRAVEL TAX TO CUT OR
DROPPED AS AIRLINES APPLY PRESSURE
The tax breaches European rules and the Government has also come under pressure from airlines and the tourism industry to remove it.
Negotiations have been ongoing between the Government and airlines ahead of the budget.
DUBLIN ZOO IN SEARCH OF NAME FOR BABY GIRAFFE
Dublin Zoo's latest arrival, a baby Rothschild giraffe
NEW GENERATION OF GOLDEN BOYS
TO the new generation. There was gold in them boys – that was always the
prospect – but to unearth it so brilliantly down in the Algarve, and win
Ireland’s first gold medal at the European Cross Country since the inaugural
event 16 years ago, is something the sport and perhaps the whole country
needed right now.
the end they did it with a bit of style too: the men’s under-23 team of
David McCarthy, Brendan O’Neill, Michael Mulhare, David Rooney, John Coghlan
and Ciarán Ó Lionáird all knew they needed to run to maximum potential to
secure a medal of any color, and most of them did exactly that. So the
European title was theirs, with 18 points to spare over France, leaving Spain
third, and Great Britain fourth.
four team scorers – McCarthy, O’Neill, Mulhare and Rooney – finished in
the top 20, and for a long time McCarthy was also challenging for an
individual medal. He lost some ground towards the end of the 8km race, and
finished up 11th, but with O’Neill in 13th, Mulhare in 16th and Rooney in
20th, their team total of 60 points ensured they were well safe for the title,
even before the calculators were taken out.
knew coming out here that it was definitely the best under-23 team that we’d
ever fielded in these championships,” said Irish team manager Ann
Keenan-Buckley. “But we knew as well it would be very tough. There were 16
teams out there, up from 11 last year, so definitely the field was stacked.
But to win the gold medal, Ireland’s first ever team gold medal in these
championships, is fantastic. It’s a serious competition, and these young
fellas all worked so hard. To hear Amhrán na bhFiann being played out here,
after so long, was great.”
it has been a long time coming: Catherina McKiernan won the senior women’s
race in the inaugural championships in Durham in 1994, but since then Ireland
have only won two further individual medals (Fionnuala Britton’s under-23
silver in 2006, and Gareth Turnbull’s junior bronze in 1998) and four team
medals (the junior men’s bronze in 1999, senior men’s bronze in 2000,
senior women’s silver in 2003, and junior men’s silver in 2004).
was very nearly another medal for Britton later on when she finished fourth in
the senior women’s race – her brave and superbly determined run leaving
her just a stride short of the bronze medal. In fact Britton was given the
same time as third-placed Dulce Felix from Portugal, and if that wasn’t
sickening enough, second place went to Binnaz Uslu of Turkey, who has just
returned from a two-year drugs ban, and controversially beat Britton to that
under-23 title in 2006.
day, if there is any justice in the sport, will come, but for the men’s
under-23s the future now looks even brighter. From the gun all six runners put
themselves in contention, their intentions and determination absolute.
McCarthy had prepared specifically for this race since returning to his US
base in Providence, Rhode Island last September, and after a difficult two
years, the Waterford athlete re-revealed his considerable talent. He was
mixing it in the top five for a long time, and although he admitted afterwards
that he was suffering from a stomach complaint since flying in from America
last Sunday, that during the race it felt “like a knife cutting right across
my middle” he battled on relentlessly.
came here with high expectation of an individual run,” said McCarthy,
“hoping even for a win. But I knew the team was so strong today that no
matter how hard I was suffering, these guys would bring me home. And even
though I was dying at the end, I looked back and saw every one of my
team-mates there, and I just put the head down.”
who hails from a family of distance runners in Laois, also paid tribute to the
team spirit: “We were all supporting each other out there. We actually said
in the middle of the race not to get carried away. So we all worked together
fierce well.” And O’Neill reckoned the best of their talents is yet to
come. “There were two big hills at the end of each lap, and we knew that was
where we needed to hold the line. It’s great to win this medal, but we’re
firmly focused on the senior ranks already. That’s where we really want to
make the impact.”
it was the team effort that counted: Coghlan (son of Eamonn) finished up in
34th, with Ó Lionáird fading to 76th – and Ó Lionáird was in fact too
exhausted to make it onto the medal podium afterwards. O’Neill, who has come
through the underage ranks at Dundrum South Dublin, lifted the winning trophy
and with that every one of the Irish contingent who had made the trip to
Albufeira in Portugal made their voices heard.
102 runners the men’s under-23 race was arguably the most competitive of the
day, with France securing a one-two in Hassan Chahdi and Florian Carvalho. So
to win the team title outright goes a long way towards making up for the
disappointment of coming away empty handed on home soil in Santry a year ago.
was said the fast and furious racing surface of Albufeira mightn’t suit the
Irish, but that didn’t prove true. Britton put herself in the top three of
the senior women’s race early on, visibly intent on making it into the
medals, and although she moved back into third as late as the last lap, had to
be content with fourth – which she actually wasn’t content with at all.
Portugal took first and third in Jessica Augusto and Felix, with Uslu claiming
came out here to get a medal,” said Britton, “and I really believed I
would. I’m so disappointed now, because fourth really is the worst position.
I knew the Portuguese would come through, and I had to do everything I had
before that. When the Turkish girl went by, well, I didn’t expect it to be
her. At the end though I was more disgusted I didn’t catch the other
Portuguese girl. She was dying, and I was getting her.”
WIDER HORIZONS PROGRAM
If you are interested in becoming a Host Family for the Wider Horizons Program in 2011, please contact Robert Tierney at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (412) 394-3900.
Help the Institute:
Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., in The Strip, 412-642-6622 features Celtic Rock with Red Hand Paddy at 9:00pm.
Teada's Irish Christmas in America at 7:30pm at Antonian Hall, Carlow University, 3333 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh (Oakland), PA 15213. Tickets: $22.00 adult advance, $25.00 day of show, $15.00 Students and Senior (60+). All ages show! Tickets can be purchased by calling 412-422-1113 in advance or at Antonian Hall evening of the show.
Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., in The Strip, 412-642-6622 features Corned Beef & Curry at 9:00pm.
Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., in The Strip, 412-642-6622 presents Tim and John's Christmas Extravaganza.
Echoes of Erin on WEDO 810AM at 12:30pm; the Ireland Report from Belfast Martin O'Muilleoir, Managing Editor of the Belfast News Grup, & the Irish Echo NY. www.irishecho.com Live Stream- www.wedo810.com
Mullaney's Harp & Fiddle, 2329 Penn Ave., in The Strip, 412-642-6622 features a 'Rockin' New Year's Eve Party with Red Hand Paddy'.
Pittsburgh Ceili Club at www.pittsburghceiliclub.org/ is sponsoring their monthly Ceili at the VFW in Morningside on Morningside Ave., "Beginning of the New Year" Ceili at 8:00pm.
The All Ireland Athletic Club presents 'Frost on the Shamrock' with Andy Cooney & His Band, East Pittsburgh VFW, 401 Draper Street, East Pittsburgh. Call 412-367-0696 or email email@example.com.
January 28-February 4th
Andy Cooney's Cruise of Irish Stars, aboard Costa Atlantica sailing 7-Night Western Caribbean - depart Miami; entertainment with Andy Cooney, Ronan Tynann, Noel V.Ginnity, Cherish the Ladies, Taylor's Irish Cabaret, Paddy Noonan, Declan Aungier, The Screaming Orphans, Pat & Fran Marnane, Noel Kingston, Stephen Green, Bill Lewis, Willie Lynch Band, Tom Comerford and more. Book with Cruise Specialists of Long Island, 1-800-499-2010, www.cruiseofirishstars.com
Pittsburgh Irish Dance Schools
Bell School of Irish Dance http://bellschool.com/about.htm
Burke Irish Dancers http://www.burkeirishdance.com/
Pittsburgh Irish Reelers http://www.pghirishreelers.com/
Shovlin Academy of Dance http://www.shovlinacademy.com/
Pittsburgh Ceili Club www.pittsburghceiliclub.org/
Pittsburgh Irish Sports
Pittsburgh Gaelic Athletic Association (PGAA)
- a representative organization of the Pittsburgh Celtics, Pittsburgh Banshees, and Pittsburgh Celtics Youth
Pittsburgh Hurling Club (PHC)
Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club (PIRC)
become a regular at these local programs!
The Echoes of Erin is marking its 22nd year! It airs every Sunday afternoon at 12:30-2:00p.m. on WEDO, 810 AM. Diane Byrnes continues to provide Irish music, news, and other great information from the Emerald Isle. Keep up the good work, Diane!
Paddy's Pour House located on Main Street in Carnegie, PA hosts live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9:00 p.m. Tuesday nights, come for Irish Night: Guinness, Smithwick's, and Half and Half specials 8-12 p.m. For more information, visit their website or call (412) 279-0770.
Catch the Thistle and Shamrock every Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. on WYEP 91.3FM for Celtic music performances and discussions.
We're always looking for events to include: If you'd like to include your next event in this newsletter, please send event information including date, time, location, admission cost, and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOCAL IRISH ENTERTAINERS WEBSITES
Check Performance Schedules, Etc.
Carnival of Souls - http://www.carnivalofsouls.com
Ceann - http://www.ceannmusic.com/
Cue Ball Music - http://www.cueballmusic.com/index.asp
Cahal Dunne - http://www.cahaldunne.com/
Tony Egan - http://www.tonyegan.info
Michael Gallagher - http://www.mike-gallagher.com/
Terry Griffith - http://www.pittsburghirish.org/griffith
Guaranteed Irish - http://www.guaranteedirish.info/
Hiraeth - http://lugh.as.cmu.edu/Hiraeth.htm
Hooley - http://www.hooley.info
John McCann - http://www.johnmccannlive.com/
Corned Beef & Curry - http://www.cornedbeefncurry.com/
Michael Murphy & TSRB http://www.michaelmurphy.us/
Na Gaels - http://www.pittsburghirish.org/nagaels
Jack Puskar - http://www.jackpuskar.com
Rolling Scones - http://www.rollingscones.com
IRISH CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA
The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh’s mission is to promote mutual understanding of the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Northern Ireland and economic development throughout all of Ireland. The Institute fulfills its mission by providing quality programs in job training, economic development, leadership development, educational alliances and reconciliation. The Institute is a change-oriented organization that collaborates with industry, educational and government institutions in the development of all programs.
The Ireland Institute relies on its donor and volunteer network to continue its mission of mutual reconciliation and economic development. Your generosity is kindly appreciated.
The Ireland Institute is available to accept donations through the United Way. Please remember our code for the United Way Campaign of Southwestern Pennsylvania: 4534. We are also listed as a non-Profit under the Combined Federal Campaign. Our number is: 12438. A third option is to donate through the local Federal campaign. This number is: 9016.
If you prefer, a tax-deductible donation can also be made directly to the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh. The Ireland Institute also appreciates in-kind donations such as event tickets etc. that we can then distribute to our participants.
For further information or questions about how you can donate, please contact us at 412-394-3900.
All articles are adapted from www.rte.ie, the Irish Emigrant, the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Examiner, BBC, and other news sources.